Scared of Spiders? Don’t Worry About The Deadly Brown Recluse In The Northwest

Jun 20, 2013

If you’ve been working in the garden lately, or have taken a trip down to the basement, you’ve probably encountered a few spiders. Maybe you’ve even wondered if you’re in danger of being bitten by a brown recluse spider, whose venom can be toxic. A Washington State University entomologist says odds are you probably won’t run into one, at least not in the Pacific Northwest.

Richard Zach says brown recluse spiders aren’t native to our area, but they do show up on occasion.

We are almost always able to trace it back to someone who took a travel trailer down to Texas or Oklahoma or Kansas and brought a few of them back or brought one back like that,” says Zach.

But, he notes, brown recluse spiders have never been native to the Pacific Northwest.  “It’s just not the right habitat,” says Zach.

Zach adds that the Northwest native hobo spider was once thought to be as dangerous as the brown recluse, but has recently been found not to be as dangerous.

He says the most toxic spider normally found in the Pacific Northwest is the common black widow.  They are relatively common here, but Zach says black widows are fairly shy and don’t often bite people.